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What is adware?

What is Adware?

Adware, a contraction of "advertising-supported software," is a type of software designed to display advertisements on your computer, redirect your search requests to advertising websites, and collect marketing-type data about you (such as the types of sites visited) to display personalized advertising content. Often free to download, adware generates revenue for its developer by showing these ads without the explicit consent of the user.

How exactly does adware operate on a computer or device?

Adware works by embedding itself into your computer or device either as a standalone program or as part of an application. Once installed, it may alter your browser settings, change your homepage, or insert additional advertisements into web pages as you browse. Some adware tracks your internet activity to display targeted ads that you might be more likely to click on. Despite being less malicious than viruses or malware, adware can significantly hamper system performance and user experience.

What Does Adware Do?

Adware's primary function is to display advertisements, but its behavior can extend beyond simple ad displays. It can:

- Redirect your browser searches to advertising or phishing websites, increasing the risk of malware infection or data theft.

- Monitor your internet browsing habits and collect data, which may include sensitive information, to target you with personalized ads.

- Slow down your computer or internet connection speed due to the additional load from running advertisements or data collection processes in the background.

- Alter web page content or insert additional ads into web pages, which can interfere with the intended user experience of a website.

How can one protect against adware?

Protecting against adware involves a combination of preventive measures and reactive solutions:

- Install a reputable anti-virus or anti-malware software that includes an adware scanning and removal feature.

- Be cautious with software downloads and installations. Always download software from official or reputable sites, and carefully read the installation prompts to avoid inadvertently installing bundled adware.

- Keep your software and operating system up to date to ensure you have the latest security patches and features.

- Use ad blockers or privacy-focused browsers that can block or limit the data collected by websites and reduce the likelihood of adware infection.

- Regularly check your installed programs and browser extensions and remove any that you do not recognize or that have been installed without your consent.

What should I do if my system is already infected with adware?

If you suspect your system is infected with adware:

1. Run a full system scan using your anti-virus or anti-malware software to detect and remove any adware or other malicious software.

2. Reset your browser settings to remove any changes made by adware, such as altered homepages or search engines.

3. Uninstall suspicious applications or software that you do not remember installing.

4. Seek professional help if you are unable to remove the adware or if the infection is severe.


Adware can be a nuisance, affecting your computing experience and potentially leading to more serious security issues. Understanding how adware works and what it does is the first step in protecting yourself and your devices from unwanted advertisements and the privacy concerns associated with them. Taking proactive steps to secure your devices and being vigilant about what you download are crucial strategies in combating adware.


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